Easy Keto Broccoli Pesto over Chicken Thighs Recipe for a Healthy Dinner

Keto Broccoli Pesto over Chicken Thighs: A Flavorful Low-Carb Feast

Welcome to a delicious journey into the world of keto cooking with our Keto Broccoli Pesto over Chicken Thighs recipe. This dish is a testament to the versatility and creativity that the keto diet offers, proving that low-carb meals can be both nutritious and bursting with flavor. Whether you’re a seasoned keto enthusiast or new to this way of eating, this recipe is designed to delight your taste buds and keep you on track with your health goals.

Chicken thighs are a keto favorite due to their higher fat content compared to other cuts, and when paired with a homemade broccoli pesto, they become an irresistible combination. The pesto, rich in healthy fats from olive oil and pine nuts, not only complements the chicken but also provides an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. This dish is perfect for anyone looking to enjoy an Italian-inspired meal without the carbs that typically come with it.

Keto Broccoli Pesto over Chicken Thighs

The Origins and Keto Benefits of Broccoli Pesto Chicken

The inspiration for this Keto Broccoli Pesto over Chicken Thighs recipe comes from a fusion of classic Italian cuisine and the need for keto-friendly meal options. Traditional pesto is a staple in Italian cooking, but by swapping out some of the usual ingredients for broccoli and using more keto-appropriate ones, we’ve created a dish that’s both innovative and true to its roots.

Broccoli, the star of our pesto, is a low-carb vegetable loaded with fiber, vitamins C and K, and antioxidants. It lends a unique flavor and nutritional boost to the pesto. The addition of olive oil increases the healthy fat content, which is essential for those maintaining a ketogenic lifestyle. The pine nuts and Parmesan cheese add a creamy texture and depth of flavor while keeping the carb count low.

Chicken thighs are an excellent choice for keto dieters due to their higher fat content, which helps to keep you satiated. They also provide a good amount of protein, which is important for muscle maintenance. When combined with the broccoli pesto, this dish becomes a well-rounded, high-fat, low-carb meal that supports ketosis and provides ample energy.

The beauty of this recipe lies in its simplicity and the ease with which it can be customized to suit your taste preferences while still adhering to the keto diet principles. It’s a dish that will appeal to everyone, not just those on keto, making it a fantastic option for family dinners or entertaining guests.

Preparing Keto Broccoli Pesto

Mastering the Method: Tips for Perfect Keto Broccoli Pesto Chicken

Creating the perfect Keto Broccoli Pesto over Chicken Thighs is all about mastering the method. The key to success lies in achieving crispy skin on the chicken thighs and blending a smooth, flavorful pesto. Here are some chef’s tips to elevate your cooking:

For the Chicken: Start by patting the chicken thighs dry. This will help the skin crisp up beautifully in the pan. Don’t rush the searing process; give the skin time to develop a golden-brown crust before flipping. Once in the oven, resist the temptation to open the door too often, as this can lower the temperature and affect the cooking time.

For the Pesto: When blanching the broccoli, make sure to plunge it into ice water immediately after to preserve its vibrant green color. This will also stop the cooking process, ensuring the broccoli retains its nutrients and crisp texture. When processing the pesto, scrape down the sides of the food processor occasionally to ensure all ingredients are well incorporated.

Remember to let the chicken rest for a few minutes after cooking. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in moist and tender meat. As for the pesto, taste as you go and adjust the seasoning to your preference. A little extra Parmesan or a pinch of salt can make all the difference.

Keto Broccoli Pesto Chicken Ready to Serve

Variations to the Keto Broccoli Pesto Chicken

Spicy Keto Broccoli Pesto Chicken

For those who enjoy a bit of heat, consider adding red pepper flakes to the pesto mix. The spiciness pairs well with the rich flavors of the chicken and pesto, and capsaicin (the compound that gives peppers their heat) may boost metabolism.

Dairy-Free Keto Broccoli Pesto Chicken

If you’re avoiding dairy, replace the Parmesan cheese with nutritional yeast. It provides a similar cheesy flavor and is a great source of B-vitamins, which are important for energy production.

Keto Broccoli Pesto Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Add chopped sun-dried tomatoes to the pesto for a tangy twist. Ensure they are oil-packed and drained well to keep the carb count in check.

Substitutions for Keto Broccoli Pesto Chicken

Understanding that dietary needs and preferences can vary, here are some substitutions you can make to keep this dish keto-friendly:

Nut-Free Pesto: If you’re allergic to nuts, sunflower seeds are a fantastic alternative to pine nuts. They provide a similar texture and are rich in vitamin E and magnesium.

Dairy-Free Pesto: For those who can’t consume dairy, nutritional yeast can replace Parmesan cheese, offering a cheesy flavor without the lactose.

Herb Variations: While basil is traditional for pesto, feel free to experiment with other herbs like parsley or cilantro for a different flavor profile.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use boneless chicken thighs? Yes, boneless thighs can be used, but cooking times may vary. Keep an eye on the internal temperature to ensure they’re cooked through.

Is broccoli keto-friendly? Absolutely! Broccoli is low in carbs and high in fiber, making it an excellent vegetable for the keto diet.

Can I make the pesto ahead of time? Yes, the pesto can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen for longer storage.

How can I store leftovers? Store leftover chicken and pesto separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Can I use a different oil for the pesto? While olive oil is recommended for its health benefits and flavor, avocado oil is a suitable substitute that’s also keto-friendly.

Keto Broccoli Pesto over Chicken Thighs

This Keto Broccoli Pesto over Chicken Thighs recipe is a delightful twist on the classic Italian favorite, offering a low-carb, high-fat meal that is both nutritious and satisfying. The homemade broccoli pesto pairs perfectly with the juicy, tender chicken thighs for a dish that's bursting with flavor and ideal for any keto-friendly lunch or dinner.
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian-inspired Keto
Servings 4 servings
Calories 560 kcal


  • Oven
  • Oven-safe skillet
  • Food processor
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Cutting board
  • Chef’s knife
  • Paper towels


Chicken Thighs

  • 4 large chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on approximately 1.5 lbs or 680 grams
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 15 ml
  • 1 tsp garlic powder 3.1 grams
  • 1 tsp onion powder 2.1 grams

Broccoli Pesto

  • 2 cups broccoli florets about 6.3 oz or 180 grams
  • cup grated Parmesan cheese about 1.4 oz or 40 grams
  • ¼ cup pine nuts about 1 oz or 28 grams
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves about 0.5 oz or 15 grams
  • ½ cup olive oil 120 ml


  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels and season both sides with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken thighs skin-side down and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the skin is golden and crispy.
  • Flip the chicken thighs and cook for an additional 5 minutes on the other side.
  • Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and roast the chicken thighs for 25-30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
  • While the chicken is cooking, bring a small pot of water to a boil and blanch the broccoli florets for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
  • In a food processor, combine blanched broccoli, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, minced garlic, and basil leaves. Pulse until coarsely chopped.
  • With the food processor running, slowly pour in 1/2 cup of olive oil and process until the mixture reaches a pesto consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Once the chicken is fully cooked, remove from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes.
  • Serve the chicken thighs hot, topped with a generous spoonful of the broccoli pesto.


If you prefer a nut-free version, you can substitute sunflower seeds for pine nuts.
Leftover pesto can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen for longer storage.
For a crispier skin, broil the chicken thighs for an additional 2-3 minutes at the end of cooking.


Calories: 560kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 36gFat: 46gFiber: 2gNet Carbs: 2g
Keyword chicken thighs, High Fat Meal, Keto Broccoli Pesto, Keto Italian Recipe, Low-Carb Dinner
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